Reviews of yesteryear: Inukami

The anime I’ll be looking at this week is based on a series of light novels by Arisawa Mamizu, who I’ve never heard of before this, with an anime adaptation by Seven Arcs… Wait, the studio behind Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha? That’s got to be a good sign. This is Inukami. This was back when Nanoha was the only anime I’d seen from them. After watching this and Sekirei, Nanoha remains the only worthwhile anime I’ve seen from them.

There is a story, but it only really starts in the last six episodes or so. Everything before that focuses more on setting up the scenario and attempts at humour. The scenario is simple. Our protagonist is Kawahira Keita. He comes from a family that works with Inukami in order to protect the peace and seek justice. What an original concept… Wait, no. What’s the opposite of original? Oh yes, trite. What a trite concept. Just switch Inukami for something else supernatural and it’s been done a lot.

I’ll talk about the comedy for a bit. Most of it doesn’t work all that well. Most of the jokes are quite predictable and play on the concept that Keita being a pervert is funny, or that nudity is funny because… modesty is a thing. Suffice it to say, there aren’t many legitimately funny moments. Some of the subversive humour works pretty well but aside from those rare moments it doesn’t offer much. I won’t go into too much detail about the story since, as stated earlier, it doesn’t really get going until towards the end. Which is a problem with the series. If you want to have a comedy, fine. If you want to have a light-hearted story with some dark elements, fine. The issue is that most of the episodes don’t tie into the main storyline. You could remove a good eighteen episodes and lose nothing that’s needed for the story. If they were going to take this route they should’ve started introducing actual important elements earlier on instead of just throwing a bunch of previously introduced characters into the story focused episodes to try and pretend that they mattered, even if most of them do bugger all. That being said, I do like that the big bad has an actual reason for toying with his opponents instead of just being too incompetent to finish them when he has the chance. Kudos for that one. The ending is really predictable though, which is kind of to be expected in an anime like this, but it’s still kind of annoying. Then there’s the romance. The romance in this is not only devoid of chemistry but it’s pretty disgusting when you consider both the age difference of several centuries and the fact that it’s bestiality. An aspect which is played up for humour on several occasions. It would be as bad as Twilight if they had a grown adult “imprint” on a baby at some point.

Most of the characters aren’t particularly interesting. Part of the problem is that there are a lot of major characters including twelve inukami, three masters, an investigator and three antagonists. The ones we spend the most time with, Keita and Youko, are thoroughly unlikable and stock characters. Keita is basically an identical character to Carrot from Bakuretsu Hunters, a pervert who chases everyone, except the person openly interested in him, who supposedly has a heart of gold. Except that Carrot was consistent and Keita will claim not to be interested in, say, the twins in one episode but’ll fantasise about and flirt with them in others. Yeah, they look too young for him and I could understand him, in spite of his perverse ways, not being interested, but it shouldn’t be something that changes from episode to episode. Youko is more like Akane from Ranma 1/2. The jealous and possessive love interest who has no personality outside of the guy she’s connected to. The minor characters fare a little better and not just because they’d pretty much have to. There’s an episode that explores Kayano and Hake’s past and makes it look like it was quite interesting but that just makes me question why we aren’t focusing on them instead of the stock morons. Some of the other secondary characters have potential but they don’t get the time to develop it into anything interesting.

The art in this isn’t bad, but it is really lazy. Everything from the largely blank backgrounds to the mediocre designs just speaks of a lack of effort. The fight scenes are quite possibly the worst. They tend to be a lot of repeated motions and coloured balls slamming into each other. I’m not really going to complain about the fan-service in this one just because it’s pretty equal opportunity with both male and female characters being put into questionable positions and scanty attire. And that bothers me a lot less than an anime that constantly strips its female characters while leaving the men untouched. It just doesn’t seem nearly as objectifying.

The voice acting is the best part of the series. They got some pretty big name and talented actors to do the vocals for this. Hayashibara Megumi, who I’m going to mention first even though she has a really small role just because she’s awesome, Horie Yue, Canna Nobutoshi, Hayami Show, Mizuki Nana and Nazuka Kaori to name just a few. The music is really good too. Which makes the sound the best part of the series.

The yuri factor is a 2/10. There are a few scenes between Kaoru’s Inukami that come off as kind of homo-erotic, but there’s no real pattern and they’re quick to remind you that they all love Kaoru so huggy muggy much. His severely under-developed personality goes well with theirs.

My final rating for Inukami is a 3/10. There are a few funny moments and the voice acting and music are great. Aside from that, however, it’s a mess of predictable jokes and under-developed characters. If you think that seeing perverts run around is funny you might have fun with it. Otherwise I couldn’t recommend it. It’s few genuinely funny moments just aren’t worth enduring the romance, which is so bad it could’ve been written by Stephanie Meyer.

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